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  • Overview

    Somalia is a country on the coast of the Horn of Africa, with a history dating back millennia. The ancient Egyptians knew the region as the 'land of spices' and ancient historical texts note the prosperity and trading power of the people living along this coastline. During the colonial era the region was so sought after that the territory was divided between the British, Italian and French, partly to dilute the power of a local population unified under the same language and religion.

    Tragically, however, Somalia has been beset for many decades by civil war, clashing warlords, and waves of rebellions and coups, and has for some time been considered one of the most dangerous countries on earth. Despite various efforts to stabilise government and subdue warring factions, Somalia has been essentially in a state of anarchy for around three decades. Since 2016 Somalia has effectively been divided into six separate states: Jubaland in the far south, South West, Galmudug and the independent state of Somaliland in the middle, Puntland to the northeast, and Hirshabelle. Of the six, Somaliland is the only destination with a proper administration and some semblance of peace and stability.

    One day, peace will return to this tragic part of the world. When it does, tourists will experience the thrill of a virtually undiscovered destination, including the delights of the longest coastline in Africa. Visitors will get to enjoy 1,864 miles (3,000km) of beaches, astounding scuba diving at Las Geel, world-class Neolithic rock paintings, and a unique ancient culture, to name but a few of the jewels in Somalia's crown.

    Hopefully that day comes sooner rather than later...

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation
    Language:

    The official languages of Somalia are Somali and Arabic, but many other languages are spoken.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: A passport valid for six months and visa are required. Visas can be acquired on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days.

    UK nationals: A passport valid for six months and visa are required. Visas can be acquired on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days.

    CA nationals: A passport valid for six months and visa are required. Visas can be acquired on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days.

    AU nationals: A passport valid for six months and visa are required. Visas can be acquired on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days.

    ZA nationals: A passport valid for six months and visa are required. Visas can be acquired on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days.

    IR nationals: A passport valid for six months and visa are required. Visas can be acquired on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days.

    NZ nationals: A passport valid for six months and visa are required. Visas can be acquired on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    Upon arrival all visitors over 18 years of age must exchange USD 100 or equivalent of other freely convertible foreign currencies into local currency. Some nationalities can obtain visas on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days, at Bosaso Airport, Abdullahi Yusuf Airport, and Aden Adde Airport. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid vaccinations are recommended for all travellers and malaria medication is recommended for travel to all regions. A yellow fever vaccination is recommended for some parts of the country and is required for those arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Travellers should also be up to date on vaccinations for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and tetanus-diphtheria.

    Medical facilities are extremely limited and most doctors and hospitals will expect immediate cash payment regardless of medical insurance policies. Serious illness or injury is likely to require evacuation out of the country for treatment.

    Local Customs:

    Somalia practises very strict and conservative Islamic cultural traditions. Avoid religious debates and respect Islamic traditions such as the call to prayer and fasting during Ramadan. Alcohol is prohibited in Somalia. Always dress conservatively, men should wear long pants, and women should keep their arms and legs covered. Homosexuality is illegal and penalties can be extreme. In greeting, only members of the same sex exchange handshakes or kisses.

    Somalia